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Atlanta Parks Visit

by Charlie McCabe

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The great lawn at Piedmont Park in Atlanta

In late June, I visited Atlanta, participating in a forum on Atlanta’s Parks hosted by Park Pride as well as several meetings organized by the Trust for Public Land’s Georgia office. Sadly, it was raining much of one of the two days that I was there, but I still managed to get out and see a number of Atlanta’s parks.

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Charlie presenting at the Park Pride forum. Yes, there were lots of charts, tables and maps. 😉

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Mural along the Beltline

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Amazing Sculpture/Swings at Piedmont Park

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Sprayground at Historic Fourth Ward Park (it was raining, so not many people out there….)

While Atlanta is ranked 50th in ParkScore, it continues to add parkland and build out a number of parks, including the Atlanta Beltline, and the forthcoming Cook Park, which is a current Trust for Public Land project, which recently held a groundbreaking.  I managed to explore a portion of the Beltline (between early evening downpours) as well as Piedmont Park, some of the Olmsted Brothers developed neighborhoors as well as Historic Fourth Ward Park.

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Rainy evening along the Beltline, with more artwork.

Our Trust for Public Land team in Georgia is working hard on both Cook Park as well as the Chattahoochee River Corridor in Atlanta.

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A big part of the function of Historic Fourth Ward Park is managing stormwater runoff, which is does really well.

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A view of the storm water ponds and system at Historic Fourth Ward Park.

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wildflowers and more murals along the Beltline

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Amazingly awesome slides at Piedmont Park.

The Beltline and Affordable Housing

This month’s issue of Next American City has a great article on Atlanta’s Beltline project, a 22-mile loop of parks, trails, transit and medium-density, mixed-use development encircling Atlanta’s urban core. Usual write-ups about the Beltline talk of the transformation potential of the parks, transit and trails of the project. This one goes a bit deeper and covers an issue that can make the project less of a success in the long-run: rising property values can make the adjacent areas unaffordable for many. The article describes how the city and community leaders have tried to resolve this issue through dedicating funds towards an affordable housing trust fund for use in the area. Anyone interested in the relationship of parks, affordable housing and urban revitalization would be interested in reading the whole article.

Atlanta’s Beltline: Add Stormwater Management to the Benefits

Progress is being made on Atlanta’s face-changing Beltline project, as a two-mile segment of trail recently opened, and groundbreaking just occurred on the project’s first new park. We’ll be posting on the Beltline’s progess and different aspects of what it is all about — trails, parks, economic development and transit.

But today, we’d like to highlight a feature of the first new 35-acre Beltline Park being converted from a former industrial area. The park will add acreage, provide the base for economic development and enhance recreational opportunities in the surrounding area, but it will also signficantly alleave stormwater issues in the area. A stormwater detention pond will be constructed as the centerpiece of the park and will help reduce overflows in the low-lying area. The Beltline is addressing parks, transit, housing and economic development, and now we see, stormwater management through its enhanced green infrastructure. “This project not only helps eliminate a serious problem, it also provides an attractive and functional amenity,” City Dept. of Watershed Management Commissioner Rob Hunter said.